NBC pads lead

Dominant 'Frasier' leads to Tues. win for Peacock

HOLLYWOOD — NBC padded its May sweeps demo lead Tuesday with strong showings from all three of its programs, led by another dominant one-hour episode of “Frasier.”

According to Nielsen Media Research, the Peacock won the night with a 6.1/16 rating in adults 18-49 — 3 shares better than both Fox and ABC and its best average on the night with series programming since the season premiere of “Frasier” in October. Net also eked out a win among total viewers (13.76 million) — ahead of both ABC (13.75m) and CBS (13.62m).

The series wrap for “3rd Rock From the Sun,” with guest star Elvis Costello, won its 8:30 half-hour in adults 18-49 and finished the hour with a solid 5.0/14 demo score and 11.88 million viewers, giving the net its best comedy scores in the hour since March.

“Frasier” then wrapped its eighth season with a commanding 7-share victory in adults 18-49 (7.5/19) over second-place ABC’s comedies, although the score was down from the 8.5/21 that last season’s “Will & Grace” finale nabbed in the hour. A special “Weakest Link” closed out the night with NBC’s best adults 18-49 average for series programming in the hour (5.7/15) since October.

NBC adds to streak

NBC’s 12th nightly victory of the four-week sweep has enabled it to take a healthy 21% advantage over runner-up Fox heading into the final night.

The Eye’s strong showing on the night in overall audience has helped it put a virtual padlock on the seasonlong race with one night left to be counted. CBS took a roughly 27,000-viewer advantage over second-place ABC into Wednesday (12.543 million vs. 12.516m), with the Alphabet’s season finales of “Spin City” and “Drew Carey” needing a nearly 6 million-viewer victory over the Eye’s premiere of theatrical “Conspiracy Theory” to pull it out.

CBS’ dramas had a strong night Tuesday, as both “JAG” (15.14m, 4.2/12 in A18-49) and “Judging Amy” (14.66m, 4.5/12) improved on their finale’s demo scores of a year ago. “JAG’s” cliffhanger episode delivered the show’s best 18-49 rating since Feb. 20, while “Amy” built on its “60 Minutes II” lead-in (2.5/6) by 80%.

ABC received winning scores from the season finale of “NYPD Blue” (15.12m, 6.2/16 in A18-49) and a solid second-place finish for the season-ending “Dharma & Greg” (13.52m, 5.8/15), which had its best showing since March. “Dharma” pulled to within 2 shares of NBC’s “Frasier” in adults 18-49 and won in women 18-34 (7.8/19 vs. 7.3/18), although at 9:30 “What About Joan” (4.2/10 in A18-49) again fizzled opposite the second half-hour of “Frasier” (8.1/20).

Finales the answer

ABC’s “Millionaire” also struggled opposite big finales, drawing its smallest firstrun Tuesday numbers ever (14.77m, 3.5/10 in A18-49) and falling to fourth in the demo for the first time on the night. A year ago, it won the hour in 18-49 by 8 shares.

Fox edged out ABC for second place in 18-49 behind the best scores since March for both “That ’70s Show” (5.9/18) and “Dark Angel” (4.6/11). Net also won the night in men 18-34 and teens.

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” exited the WB with its largest aud since late February (5.22m) and an 18-49 rating that improved on last year’s finale by 24% (2.6/8 vs. 2.1/6).

May sweeps adults 18-49 standings with one night to go: NBC, 5.1 rating/15 share (down 7% in rating vs. a year ago); Fox, 4.2/12 (up 2%); CBS, 4.0/11 (up 14%); ABC, 3.8/11 (down 30%).

In total viewers: CBS, 12.8 million, (up 7%); NBC, 12.1m (down 4%); ABC, 10.9m (down 28%); Fox, 8.8m (up 4%).

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